It is possible to create the perfect crust on cast iron fried chicken at home by following these ten simple tips!
The key is to plan ahead, allow the chicken 48 hours to marinade and dry, then on the day you prepare it, allow enough time to double fry the chicken in a cast iron skillet.
Here are my tips for perfect cast iron fried chicken!
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Cut up your chicken unless you are starting with pre-cut chicken.
It is best to cut the chicken breasts in half – or if they are really large into thirds – so all the chicken pieces are approximately the same size.
This makes sure the chicken is evenly done and that none of the pieces are overcooked.
Be sure the chicken is thawed at least three days before you intend to cook it, this way you can marinade it for 24 hours and then allow the marinade to dry on the chicken for 24 hours before you fry the chicken.
Here is a buttermilk brine recipe perfect for cast iron fried chicken.
Once the 24 hours are up, remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade.
Place the chicken on a wire rack with a pan underneath or on a broiler pan.
Measure out 2 Tablespoons of the marinade, cover and refrigerate.
Place the chicken – on the rack – back in the refrigerator and allow it to drip dry for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours is up and the marinade on the chicken is dry, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.
This takes approximately 30 minutes, but go ahead and move on to tip #4 because the flour coating process takes 30 minutes total.
Cover the chicken with seasoned flour and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Once the ten minutes is up, coat the chicken with the seasoned flour a second time.
Let the chicken rest 20 minutes at room temperature to form a crust.
Add some additional spices such as oregano, celery leaf, thyme and sage to the chicken as it is frying.
Remember good fried chicken is generously seasoned.
Use canola oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil to fry chicken in.
Add enough oil so there is approximately 1 1/2 inches of oil in the bottom of the cast iron skillet.
The alcohol in the flour mixture helps to keep the crust from becoming too greasy.
Pre-heat the oil in the skillet, but keep an eye on it so it does not catch on fire!
Once the oil has reached somewhere between 350 degrees Fahrenheit and 375 degrees Fahrenheit, add the chicken to the pan.
Keep in mind adding the chicken lowers the temperature of the oil about 25 degrees initially.
Fry the chicken 10 minutes per side, making sure to only turn it once during cooking.
Remove the chicken from the skillet, place it on a wire cooling rack or broiling pan and cool for 15 to 30 minutes then refry it!
Remove the chicken from the cast iron skillet a second time and cool on a wire rack.
Do not put the chicken on paper towels because paper towels can cause the chicken crust to soften.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve.
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